San Carlos School Board Considers Renewing or Increasing Parcel Tax

October 21, 2014

Schools, Homes and Money.

Real estate and schools go hand in hand in San Carlos.  You can hardly have a discussion about one without the other popping up eventually.  The excellent reputation of the San Carlos School District is one of the primary reasons why home buyers seek out and insist upon living in San Carlos.  Consequently, it's a big reason why our home prices are higher on average than adjacent cities.

That phenomenon has been particularly noticeable during the most recent technology boom, as droves of highly educated technology workers have relocated to Silicon Valley to take advantage of this unprecedented surge in the tech market.  Finding a community with an excellent school district and a reasonable commute to the valley is the holy grail for many home buyers as they scramble to find housing in a very tight Bay Area real estate market.

San Carlos residents have generally recognized the precarious balance between the quality of the school district and the relative price of housing, and have generously supplemented the district's through a variety of financial avenues:

  • Measure A: $110.60/year parcel tax, passed by voters in 2011 (replaced Measure D)
  • Measure B: $78/year parcel tax, passed by voters in 2009
  • Measure E: $35 million bond measure passed by voters in 2005
  • Measure H:  $72 million bond measure passed by voters in 2012

In addition, the San Carlos School District enjoys the financial support of a very efficient and well organized education foundation that provided $2.45M to the district during their last fiscal cycle.

Measure B to Expire.

One of the aforementioned financial conduits, Measure B, is set to expire in June of 2015.  School administrators are currently discussing what should be done, if anything, to replace this imminently expiring source of funds.   Aside from just doing nothing and letting the Measure expire, which is very unlikely given that the Measure currently provides about $720,000 to the district every year, they are looking into several options to replace Measure B.

One option would be to simply extend the $78 parcel tax for another yet-to-be determined period of time.  Another path would be to combine the existing measures into a single tax going forward — and in a twist that would certainly test the generosity of San Carlos homeowners, use this inflection point to possibly increase the overall net parcel tax.   That will certainly be a lively discussion if the latter is the path of choice.    According to this article in the Daily Journal, the most likely method to decide the fate of Measure B would be special mail-only election sometime in the spring of 2015.

Time for a Poll.

So what are your thoughts?  Should the San Carlos School District renew the funding for Measure B?   Would you be open to an increase in your property tax if the measures are combined and increased?   Or, should nothing be done and let Measure B expire?   It's an important topic, and one that will be discussed in much more detail as the District gets closer to decision time.    Register your vote in the White Oaks Blog poll below, or feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

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  1. Hans Brough on October 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Worth noting I think that ‘excellent schools’ are made in large part by the students who are a product of their home life. Schools need good teachers and administrators but they wouldn’t be able to have the same success if students didn’t arrive prepared. In other words we shouldn’t make the assumption that our kids are blank slates that become the sum total of what teachers provide and that fewer $ would translate to incrementally less knowledge.

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